A Call To Courage
Day 1: In Pastor Jack’s message he issued a call to courage. What does courage look like? Describe a time that you had to do something that required courage. What was it like? Courage isn’t necessarily about overcoming difficulty as much as it’s not being overcome by difficulty. Courage is the ability to navigate through something difficult. There are universal “difficulties” – failing health, loss, pain, and sorrow - the concept of “difficult” means something different for each one of us. Our own definition of difficulty also changes throughout our lifetime. What you consider difficult today may be very different than ten years ago. The common theme here is a call to courage whenever we bump up against something that causes us to stop and recognize that we are facing something beyond or bigger than us, our current strength or abilities. Read Matthew 7:24-25 and Colossians 2:6.How might building a foundation of trust and putting into practice His teachings help us live in courage? What does Jesus say a foundation in Him will do for us (and in us) when difficulties come? As you go through the next few days, notice how you react and respond when faced with something challenging, difficult, painful, and/or unexpected. Be mindful of the foundation of faith and trust you are building.
Day 2: Consider the following statements:
“I can live with faith, courage and confidence, looking forward to the next adventure."
“I can be stuck/paralyzed by fear, insecurity and uncertainty and one day look back with regret."
We all experience fear. Fear can serve as an alert to danger and influence us to take action. Feeding and obsessing in the fear can lead to mental/emotional paralysis. Read John 14:27 and 16:33, and Philippians 4:7.The definition of peace/tranquility is "freedom of the mind from annoyance, anxiety, distraction, an obsession, etc. Free from or unaffected by disturbances." The first statement demonstrates living from a place ofpeace– whether difficulties are present or not. Peace doesn’t mean we have no fear, it just means that we don’t get stuck in it. What practices are in place or would help you feed peace and tranquility instead of fear?
Day 3: We all have default responses or automatic reactions. We do them without thinking, What is your go-to response whenever you bump up against something difficult, painful, or overwhelming? Below is a list of reactions that trigger a default response:
worry – self-doubt – defensiveness – anger – judgement – blaming – isolation – engage in “numbing” activities (anything that disengages you from what you are facing) – denial – seek to control – “flight” (run or retreat) – entitlement – procrastinate – anxiety and so on.
Do you relate to any in this list or are there others? Our common defaults turn into a habit. How have you replaced a negative default reaction into one of trust and confidence in God’s presence? Are there responses you feel like control you every day?
Day 4: Do you have a giant? Maybe your giant is health related, financial, emotional or in your career. Your giant may be dealing with anger or addiction. The idea behind “giant” is at first glance insurmountable. We see what we are up against, and we see our inability in our own strength to face it. At times, change itself can seem like the giant that taunts and intimidates us. Following Jesus is about us taking steps to know and become like Him. Taking steps requires a change- putting aside a way of thinking or doing and learning the way Jesus invited people to live. Most of the time it will require us to have courage (and strength) to do this kind of spiritual work. A giant, much like an elephant, is best “eaten” one bite at a time. What is the one step you can take to take a bite out of your giant? Maybe it is reading a book or joining a group that deals with giants like yours. Identify a step, pray for courage to take it. Then take it! After, celebrate and thank God.
Day 5: Google the song “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle. Consider looking up the lyrics or just close your eyes and listen to the song. We can learn to walk with confidence, courage, and faith, one step at a time. Whether our mountain is moved, or we learn to climb over it, courage isn’t about what happens in our life, it is how we live no matter what trials come our way. Read Ephesians 3:14-19.Pray this prayer from Ephesians for yourself, pray this for someone else. When you bump against something difficult, return to this prayer. Remember that God is with you. Remember that God will strengthen you. Remember that you are being rooted and established inJesus as you trust in Him. Your faith in Him will grow and soon you may see great courage God has put inside of you.
Read Jack’s blog, “Riveted,” at www.jackanderson.org